How Does DSL Internet Work?

How Does DSL Internet Work?

Most of us take the internet for granted because it’s become something we use and need every day. The world is transitioning online, which means that we all use the internet, whether it’s for leisure or business.

Most internet users are only familiar with wireless internet or Wifi, but it’s not the only type available. DSL internet is something that is growing, and many local phone services are providing it. It is high-speed internet access, which is delivered through phone networks that are already put in place.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at DSL internet, how it works, as well as the advantages and disadvantages.

What is DSL?

DSL stands for Digital Subscriber Line. It uses a high-speed bandwidth connection from phone wall jacks through telephone networks that already exist. DSL works with frequencies that telephones don’t, so the internet can be used while making phone calls.

Telephone wires can carry thousands of frequencies. Only a small amount of those are for telephone communications. This type of internet can also use those frequencies. DSL and those telephone communications can work at the same time without interrupting each other.

Two Types of DSL Technology

There are two different types of DSL technology. The first is SDSL, which stands for Symmetrical DSL. The symmetrical digital subscriber line is a kind of DSL that provides high-speed internet. It is called symmetrical because there are two different connections, downstream and upstream. Both of these connections have the same bandwidth.

This type of DSL has the same speed, which is high for both upstream and downstream. It works over twisted pair cables that are in all telephone equipment. This DSL only requires copper wires to help with the connection.

The second type of DSL is an ADSL, which stands for asymmetric digital subscriber line. This is the most common type of connection. The chances are that you are downloading more information than you are uploading online. Therefore the asymmetrical connection has a larger downstream bandwidth and less of upstream bandwidth.

This digital subscriber line provides connection consistently all the time. This DSL was made to be one way. There is a large amount of information that flows to the user, and a small amount is given back. The difference between the two is that the SDSL is not limited to a one-speed connection. It can have high-speed uploads as well as high-speed downloads.

ADSL is far more accessible, although SDSL’s popularity is increasing. Symmetrical DSL can use all the bandwidth that is available from the two wires, whereas asymmetric DSL can’t. Lastly, one of the significant differences is price. Symmetrical DSL is far more expensive.

It is currently being replaced with a single pair of the high-speed digital subscriber. Asymmetric DSL is used by homeowners who spend most of their time downloading emails, web pages, movies, and music online. Symmetric DSL service is more for small businesses that usually will require sending, transferring, or sharing large files.

Symmetric DSL is always available, and there is no need for connecting or disconnecting. It can be used 24 hours each day.

Telephone Lines

When it comes to DSL Internet, understanding how telephones work is essential. POTS is an ordinary telephone line and stands for Plain Old Telephone Service. Most POTS have restrictions on the frequencies that the phones can carry. Most of the time, the frequencies are small.

In having these restrictions on frequencies, interference between lines is not a problem. The telephone systems can have a large number of wires in small places. When it comes to telephone installation, a pair of copper wires is required in your home. The cables not only carry your daily phone conversations, but they also hold a wide range of frequencies and a large bandwidth.

DSL’s can carry information on the wire without ruining potential phone conversations. It also can send digital data safely by using more of the telephone line volume.

Satellite vs. DSL

For those living in a rural area, you may be wondering which internet choice is the best for you.

When it comes to choosing an option, DSL is the best choice for people in small towns and rural areas. Those who live in these areas have fewer internet options than people who live in cities and the suburbs.

If you live in a country area, chances are you are paying higher internet fees for service that may not even be the fastest. Changes and improvements are being made to help residents have the best internet options in rural areas.

For the most part, these areas have the option of DSL, which again would be the most frugal and easiest. Another option for the internet is satellite. These tend to be the slowest out of all the internet choices.

If you are wondering why someone would choose a slower option, it is because they may not have the availability or flexibility to use other internet resources. They usually pick satellites because faster options are not feasible.

If you are like the general population and binge-watch shows on Netflix or Hulu, then DSL would ultimately be the better option, but depending on what you want, either one could work. DSL has better service and overall is faster, although there are distinct situations where satellite could be faster.

The thing with satellite internet is that it has limitations. This means when you reach those limitations, your internet connection can be lost. Some of the restrictions that come with satellite internet is not being able to use Netflix. That would mean you can’t watch your new show all because of the bandwidth.

Fixed Wireless vs DSL

Fixed wireless is another option and it tends to be the fastest. The only issue with fixed wireless is that it is not available everywhere. This type of internet service is different from both the DSL and satellite. For fixed wifi, the signal reaches homes differently, so it depends on where you live.

You don’t rely on physical wires or a satellite, instead the wireless works with a direct point to point connection. The speed for fixed wireless is usually faster, but many limitations prohibit people from being able to obtain the service.

To use wireless, you need to have a line of sight connection to access points. It could be a few miles away from where you live. Many living situations make it either hard or impossible to do such. If that is the case, then DSL would be the only option.
Where Can You Get DSL Internet?

Popular phone services like AT&TVerizon, EarthLink, Windstream, and  Centurylink offer DSL internet plans for a variety of prices. The prices for DSL depend on where you are living. They can be affordable, and other times they can be costly. On average, DSL starts at $19.99 a month and can go all the way to $50.00 a month.

The cost depends on the starting speed range, the provider, and your location. It also depends on the brand of the phone company you chose. Verizon may be more expensive than AT&T or Frontier.

DSL Pros and Cons

Like everything in life, there are pros and cons when it comes to DSL internet. If you can use DSL internet, it is smart to know as much as you can. The pros and cons can determine whether or not you chose the service.

DSL Pros:

  • An advantage of DSL is that you can use the phone for a call and also use your internet connection at the same time. There is no need to log out of your internet when you receive a phone call.
  • The speed for the DSL is also higher, and you don’t need to get new wiring, you can just use the phone line already installed, which in the end could be cheaper.
  • Overall the price for DSL can be lower than many other options. The last advantage of DSL internet could be your favorite.

Have you ever noticed that your internet signal was weak because people were using your service? With DSL, you don’t have to share the internet with your neighbor, which means you don’t have to worry about it slowing down because of other people using it.

DSL Cons:

  • Some of the cons are that DSL service depends on the distance from you and the service providers hub. If you are far away, then the connection is going to be slower. This could be a problem if you live nowhere near a provider hub.
  • Another con is that the service is not available everywhere.

Final Thoughts on DSL Internet

If you live in the middle of nowhere, then the chances are that there will be no provider station, which means you won’t be able to get DSL service. If you do decide that DSL internet is for you make sure you research all the phone services and what they have to offer.

Blair Campbell

Founder of GetInternet. Blair studied computer science at the California Institute of Technology Computing and Mathematical Sciences program, but he enjoys writing on the side. He grew up in southern California and now lives in Denver, Colorado.